Nov 3, 2011

I'm Writing a Book?

by Kari Diane Pike

In a brochure published by AlphaGraphics I read that the American Association of Publishers (AAP) says that "83% of Americans have thought about writing a book or are currently working on a manuscript." I don't know if that number really means anything. Of course just about everyone has thought about writing a book! But how many people actually sit down and do the work? Evidently quite a few...and the number is growing. That same brochure claims that " independent authors publishing thier own books grew 132% in 2009.

What does that mean to me? Well, it tells me that there are a lot of books out there. It makes me wonder if what I have to say is really relevant or of worth to anyone else. After all, who am I?

Remember that writing class I mentioned last time I posted? Yeah, the honeymoon is over. I think the word (dare I say his name and risk getting caught by his dog sniffing google alerts?) Caleb used to describe my writing was "craptastic." A classmate started reading my work, but after a couple of sentences, Caleb made her stop. He couldn't stand the pain. He asked,

"What is your goal? What are you trying to say? What is your central conceit here?"

I couldn't answer him. So, he tried a different approach. He asked me to tell him about who I am. What do I do to occupy my time all day long? He dug until he got me to say,

"I am writing this stuff because I have a gift for helping others identify their spiritual gifts that they don't necessarily recognize gifts." or something to that effect.

He pointed out that I do have important things to say, interesting stories to tell. But without a goal...without understanding for myself what I really write and why I write it, I struggle with the ending of the story. I don't know where to take it, because I don't know where I'm going. Did that make sense? It's the whole "if you don't have a goal, you can't get there" thing.

So why am I writing this today? Because I learned that even though I have 150 pages of craptastic writing, it still has value. It is not throw away material. I have a marketable idea -- one that I am told is needed and something that is not found on the shelf at Deseret Book at this time. But I need to look at each of the chapters and find the message that is buried in there somewhere.

I thanked Caleb at the end of class. His reply, "After your book is published, then you can thank me."

I'm writing a book? (squeeee!)


  1. Ouch that musta hurt but it's good advice. I'd better take it too.

  2. WOW - gave me chills. What is my goal? I had to really think about that. Is my writing reflecting my goal? Can I come to his class??? I need some abuse.

  3. I need to learn from what you were told I don't think I could take the learning process myself just now. Mostly I wonder if I shouldn't just read there are more great books I want to read than I could in a lifetime. I have a long way to go in learning the craft.
    But I enjoy trying.

  4. Wow. I can't decide about that teacher . . . but I agree with his advice on having a focus or goal. I need to work on that myself.


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